#Blogtour The Beresford by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheBeresford

Orenda Books July 22nd 2021

The Blurb

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.
There’s a routine at The Beresford.
For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building. Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate Smythe no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.
And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door. Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…
Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

My Review

The sun may have been shining when I sat and read The Beresford but it didn’t appear to reach the formidable building of The Beresford. It’s walls encapsulated a dark and foreboding force, a litany of characters and the indomitable Mrs May, Carvers caretaker, the conduit to which everything and all flowed through.

Not for Carver an elderly lady who sat meekly in a chair knitting, no Mrs May was your wine swigging matriarch, a woman who prayed, no heckled to god to bend the actions of others to her will. Carver made me feel as if she could see into the souls of her tenants, to know what they needed long before they did.

Abe, the loner, the quiet one, the longest resident until one meeting, one explosive action and no longer the man he thought he was.

Blair, the escapee from suffocating god fearing parents, hell bent on living her own life.

Gail, another escapee this time from an abusive husband, and Aubrey, intent on making her own mark in business.

In a way they were all fleeing something, hopeful of finding something better but Carver wasn’t going to let that stop him spoiling the party. It seemed as soon his characters stepped through the doors an unseen force took over their minds, their thoughts their actions. It was if the characters reverted to an alter ego, their opposite in temperament, there was cold blooded murder that was definitely not for the squeamish, and I learnt more of how to get rid of body parts then I have read in any other novel. Thanks for that Mr Carver!

A pattern emerged, a case of one out and sixty seconds later another tenant/victim through the door, would something or anyone break the cycle, would anyone escape the clutches of The Beresford?

I felt Carver was trying to relay something more that just a story, religion a major theme, the hold it can have over us, the utter belief that everything is God’s will. Yet Carver challenged that through his characters, Blair’s mother the prime example. The most hardcore believer until tragedy as Carver made her question her religious fervour, a God who did nothing to save the people she loved. There was the almost yelling, screaming prayers of Mrs May to a God you thought should have been the devil, in fact I did wonder if Mrs May was actually the devil in disguise.

Whatever your own personal thoughts, feelings, it did not detract from the novel, from the darkness, from Carver’s ability to push the boundaries, for his love for the quirky, unique outside of the box fiction that we have all come to admire and love.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Beresford to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year and for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell. Good Samaritans was a book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the eBook charts.

#Blogtour Girls Who Lie by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir @evaaegisdottir @orendabooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #GirlsWhoLie

Orenda Books July 22nd 2021

The Blurb

At once a startling, tense psychological thriller, and a sophisticated and twisty police procedural from a rising star in Icelandic literature
When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?
Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.
Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

My Review

I loved the Girl On The Stairs and was very pleased to find myself back in Iceland with Elma as she became embroiled in another very tense investigation.

It was an investigation that shifted between past and present, and Aegisdottir’s decision to intersperse the investigation with the voice of an unknown female narrator was a master stroke. Not only did it make me question who it might be, but gave a brilliant insight into a damaged woman, one marred by an accidental pregnancy, motherhood at a young age. Here was a mother who didn’t really know how to be a mother, who couldn’t find the capacity for that unconditional love we all take for granted. As the child’s age progressed Aegisdottir began to make it abundantly clear that this was no normal mother/daughter relationship, I could sense unease, a sinister element that I couldn’t quite work out.

The present day was no less intriguing, single mother Marianne found dead, daughter Helke finally making a life for herself with foster parents she adored. Did she miss her mother, was she grieving?. At first glance, no, but it was no surprise, as Aegisdottir portayed a fifteen year old who maybe hated her mother, felt lonely, friendless, and perhaps resented her mother for a loveless relationship.

The interplay between the two narratives played to Aegisdottir’s strength, that wonderful skill she possessed that made the reader really think about what they were reading, to question the characters motives, their actions. Elma was strategically placed to be our guide, yet Aeistdottir didn’t forget that she too had her own issues, the suicide of her husband, the difficult relationship with her sister, and her love life which made an appearance.

Her personal life may have been complicated but that didn’t detract from her day job, a job she did so with side kick, Saevar. I loved that there was no brashness, no overconfidence just meticulous attention to detail, intelligence and an ability to think outside the box.

The whole investigation was like a slow burning candle, as Elma dug deeper so the wick burnt down, the perpetrator of Marianne’s murder switched multiple times and the web of lies became more entangled.

Elma was nothing but determined and pedantic, as finally the pieces fell into place, a mad scramble to wind things up, to tie up the loose ends.

What I wasn’t prepared for but in hindsight should have looked for the clues, Aegisdottir’s littered throughout as she turned the tables and an altogether different ending emerged. Chilling and slightly disturbing but an utterly fitting conclusion.

Aegisdottir may have finished the investigation but she gave us a tantalising glance at a happy Elma and anticipation for the next instalment.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Girls Who Lie to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series.

Follow her on Twitter @evaaegisdottir

#Blogtour Under A Greek Moon by Carol Kirkwood @carolkirkwood @HarperCollinsUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #UnderAGreekMoon

Harper Collins 8th July 2021

The Blurb

Hollywood actress Shauna Jackson left the Greek island of Ithostwenty years ago and thought she would never return. Reeling from a scandal that has tarnished her success, she is drawn back to the beautiful olive groves and endless azure skies – and to the secrets she has tried hard to forget.

Looking down from his hilltop villa, enigmatic tycoon Demetrios Theodosis knows he can’t change the past, and looks to the future through his tempestuous daughter Ariana, but in trying to tame her free spirit, is he driving her further away?

My Review

Under A Greek Moon was a novel I didn’t know I needed until I actually began to read. From start to finish it was pure escapism, the glamour of hollywood, of sun kissed Greek islands and wonderful characters that lit up the pages.

Shauna was the red haired beauty who had conquered Hollywood but we all know that often there would be a price to pay, Kirkwood enveloping her in a scandal that made her stop and question everything. Luckily for us she looked back to her past and what might have been and gave Kirkwood the perfect excuse to send us back in time to life before Hollywood.

Kirkwood sent the young Shauna on a tour of Europe with best friend Roxy, until she separated them and Shauna found herself as a working crew member of a shipping magnates yacht and fate, the stars somehow aligned as Shauna was flung into the arms of devilishly handsome Demetrios. He was a man I think we would all swoon over as Kirkwood described his looks, his physique, yet looks are not all and underneath he was a man bound by family honour, by responsibility to his fathers business.

The island of Ithos became the backdrop of what you knew would not last, a summer romance destined never to be and the following years showed a Shauna and Demetrios with widely different career and life paths.

I loved the glitz and glamour of Shauna’s life, yet Kirkwood always gave you that uneasy feeling of something missing, something fame and fortune could never provide. When all appeared to fall apart Kirkwood sent her back to Ithos and the magic of the island appeared to envelop her once again.

Demetrios’s own path to present day wasn’t all sweetness and light and Kirkwood pushed a veritable weight of expectation on his shoulders, the only light, his daughter. Ithos pulled him back time and time and again and you desperately wanted them to meet once again to see if the magic, the love and attraction still existed between himself and Shauna.

Obstacles inevitability stood in their way, Kirkwood putting caution, apprehension in their way but we all know that there is always a conclusion be it happy or sad. Which one would Kirkwood choose??

As we bask in a glorious heatwave Under A Greek Moon was the perfect novel, romance, glamour and unashamed escapism that I absolutely loved.

I would like to thank Harper Collins for a copy of Under A Greek Moon to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Carol Kirkwood is one of the BBC’s most loved TV presenters, best known for presenting the weather. She lights up viewers’ homes every day, appearing on programmes such as BBC Breakfast, Strictly Come Dancing, Wimbledon Tennis Fortnight, and Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

She is hugely popular with fans and Carol frequently trends on Twitter. Beyond the television screen, she can often be found ensconced in a book, singing, dancing, and driving fast cars.

#Blogtour Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzwnbrink @CatRentzwnbrink @Phoenix_Bks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #EveryoneIsStillAlive

Phoenix 8th July 2021

The Blurb

It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them. But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .
Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sun- drenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.
EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is the story of several families who live on the same suburban street, all secretly struggling with the anxieties of the modern world whilst trying to maintain the illusion that everything is fine. This is a novel about guilt, grief, working motherhood, the mental load, envy, fear and status, but it’s also about love, friendship, community and how we figure out what really matters.

My Review

How would Rentzenbrink’s first foray into fiction be, would it meet all the expectations after such a well received, critically acclaimed non fiction book? I can quite categorically state that it definitely lived up to all expectations and in so many differing ways.

Firstly there was Magnolia Road, the epitome of middle class, of family homes, parents with good jobs and a sense of community, a road those on the fringes aspired to live.

Then and perhaps most importantly were the families, largely centred around Juliet, her husband Liam and son Zac.

Reclaiming Juliets mothers home after her death, Juliet was in that vulnerable grief stricken state where emotions and issues magnified, the need to be all to everyone yet always coming up short were ever present in Rentzenbrink’s narrative.

That seemed to be theme throughout, the competition to be better than the rest, to have what others had, yet finances, circumstances often the final stumbling block. I think that is why I enjoyed the novel so much, each woman Rentzenbrink featured had a little of something that resonated, Helen’s lack of confidence, of exhaustion, Lucy’s boredom of her husband. Rentzenbrink seemed to capture the varying aspects of marriage, the continual work needed, the compromise, the roles of each set, the feelings of inadequacy, the lack of passion and respect.

I think we all believe that to some degree we could have it all but Rentzenbrink , through her families showed that that just isn’t possible as one incident on one sunny day finally opened the cracks and couples, individuals had to face the truth, an inevitability that we saw on the horizon but were never sure when the author would set of the little time bomb.

It made me look back to my own marriage, my divorce, where I am now and that is what so impressed, Rentzenbrink’s ability to understand, the many angles, the recriminations from both sides. The fall outs were life changing, provoked thought, but in a way part of a healing process, of honesty and truth. The characters were made to look inward at their own actions, responses, their effect on husbands, friends and children, It gave them enlightenment, appreciation, the tools to which they could enable compromise and almost importantly change.

It was a novel that exceeded all my expectations and more, a novel of everyday families brought vividly and brilliantly to life.

I would to thank Phoenix for a copy of Everyone Is Still Alive to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Cathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire, spent many years in London, and now lives in Cornwall. She is the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, and the acclaimed memoirs A MANUAL FOR HEARTACHE and DEAR READER. EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is her first novel.

#Blogtour One August Night by Victoria Hislop @VicHislop @headlinepg @annecater #RansomTbingsTours #OneAugustNight

Headline July 22nd 2021

The Blurb

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony.And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister,Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

The first question I asked was would a reader needed to have read The Island? Simple answer was no, yes it would have helped but Hislop made only minor references and on the whole it could be read as a standalone.

It visited characters many had met before their lives ambling onwards until the island of Spinalonga was needed no more, a cure for leprosy the saviour for many. For Maria, spoilt indulged wife of wealthy landowner Andrea Vandoulakis, the imminent release of sister Anna spelt disaster, for Manolis trepidation, for father Giorgios joy and happiness.

Hislop wove a heady mix of emotions and tension before a fatal blow as lives exploded beyond recognition. It was interesting to see in what direction Hislop would send her characters. You weren’t sure if you should feel empathy or sorrow for Manolis as he escaped to Athens, grief etched within his being. His objective was to forget but of course Hislop didn’t make that easy for him, and we read as he internalised his feelings and indeed his history from those around him. Hislop surrounded him with wonderful individuals whose own stories unfolded, a common thread between them all, that bound them together, and in some ways they healed each other.

I definitely felt huge empathy for Anna as she fought against the stigma of leprosy, of the huge human capacity for forgiveness that Hislop gave her. Her visits to a prison were starkly chilling and you admired her tenacity as she returned time and time again. I liked that she looked forwards, not back, that she tried to see the good in everyone no matter their crime, as the reader took her to their hearts.

What I liked was Hislop mirroring of a Greek nation and its people rebuilding after years of war and occupation with the rebuilding of her characters lives. As Greece’s fortunes flourished then so did Anna and Manolis’s, and those around them, as Hislop gave them hope and more importantly a future.

If there was one thing that I took away from One August Night was the beauty of Greece, of its islands and its people. Maybe one day I can visit again.

I would like to thank Headline for a copy of One August Night to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony,Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than six million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of theYear at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale ofThessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.
Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, followed and was one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria’s most recent novel, One August Night, returns to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. The novel spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.

Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, Victoria was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

#Blogtour Reckless by R.J McBrien @r_mcbrien @welbeckpublish @SophMidas @midaspr #Reckless

Welbeck Publishing 22nd July 2021

The Blurb

You think you’ll stay the same – you won’t. Infidelity will change you forever. There can be no going back.

Kirsten Calloway knows she should be grateful. She has a stable marriage, decent job, and a wonderful teenage daughter. But she also has a raging libido that won’t shut up, and a husband who’d rather go on a bike ride.

She bumps into an old friend at a school reunion who faces a similar problem. Dianne, though, has found the answer: a discreet agency which arranges casual sex for people just like them, people who want to keep their marriages but also scratch that itch.

Enter Zac: younger, handsome and everything Kirsten could hope for in bed. For a while, they seem to have it all. Kirsten even finds herself becoming a better wife and mother. But Zac wants more – a lot more, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.

Sexually charged, shocking and relatable, Reckless is a profound exploration of marriage, motherhood and desire.

My Review

You’re married, your daughter is well on her way to uni yet the freedom that it promised seemed distant, a dream. Married to a husband who didn’t look twice, no emotion or even love it was no wonder McBrien saw a need for his character Kirsten to seek out the odd thrill. That thrill was definitely more than she bargained for but gave McBrien licence to push her boundaries as she sought a sex life more exciting than her current non existent one.

What was not to like about a service that matched you with like minded people those that wanted to stay married but wanted that extra bit of excitement? I loved the cloak and dagger of the first initial meeting with Zac, the hesitancy before McBrien took of the veritable cuffs. You knew it was too good to be true as their meetings ramped up, as Zac’s actions and behaviours blurred the boundaries.

And then McBrien delivered a killer blow, and Kirsten was left scrambling for answers, paranoia and fear of being discovered loomed ever closer until a fabulous curve ball from McBrien that even I didn’t see coming. The outcome was different from what I expected and that’s what made me love this novel.

It wasn’t just the unexpected, I liked the alternating dual time lapses, Kirsten being questioned by police, Kirsten enjoying her hidden secret whilst maintaining that family work life facade. There were traces of regret, fo wanting to turn back the clock, but you knew that wasn’t possible as McBrien upped the stakes, the fear of losing what she held most dear.

The police interviews, their ever more are probing questions allowed McBrien to up the tension to squeeze ours and Kirsten’s nerves, waiting for that moment when someone or something would surrender.

I loved the ending, it made me smile with deep satisfaction, of good coming from a grim situation.

Knowing McBrien has a pedigree in TV dramas and I did feel Reckless would translate brilliantly onto our screens and I did wonder if this was the authors intent, if yes then brilliant I cannot wait to watch.

I would like to thank Welbeck Publishing for a copy of Reckless to read and review and to Midas PR for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour.

About the author

Richard ‘RJ’ McBrien attended York University, the Sorbonne and SUNY Buffalo, completing his education at Yale Drama School as a playwright. After a year teaching in Beijing, he returned to the UK to write and teach in London, where he also began writing for TV, both on existing shows (mostly notably, Wallander, Merlin, and Spooks) and his own shows (The Debt for the BBC and Trust for ITV, amongst others).

#Blogtour Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl @alexdahlauthor @HoZ_Books @midaspr

Cabin Fever
Head of Zeus July 8th 2021

The Blurb

Alone and isolated in a vast Scandinavian forest, a therapist begins to read her client’s novel manuscript, only to discover the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

You are her therapist.

Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.

But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.

When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.

Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

My Review

I’m all for a psychological thriller with flashing sirens and the requisite characters chasing all over but every now and again you want something that’s a little slower, that takes its time, allows you to think about the themes and the characters and Cabin Fever was all that and more.

Dahl was a master of building those all important foundations, the beautiful psychotherapist, Kristina, married to a successful politician, the beautiful home and wealth, but scratch below the surface and it was altogether different.

The famous author Leah, damaged by domestic abuse, Kristina’s patient until one day she didn’t turn up, and Kristina knew she had to find out why. Her best friend Elizabeth the third wheel who held the all important key to Kristina’s own past.

Yet the why’s were so much more, as Dahl cracked open the psyche of all three women, gave them their own voices, all the better for the reader to try and understand their reasoning, their actions.

At first they all appeared victims, and yes they were but it was what the affects and what they chose to do with their experiences that Dahl so brilliantly analysed.

I bought into Kristina’s ‘goodness’ her actions all done with the best of intentions, Leah the perpetrator, the manipulator, the one who stacked all the cards before they all gradually began to crumple. Dahl was so clever in using her unfinished manuscript as a lever that forced Kristina’s to examine her own psyche, to realise she had been played but for us the reader a different story emerged. Here was a woman who was the ultimate control freak, not only of herself but also of others, her clever use of words, use of triggers was wonderfully fascinating and you couldn’t help but admire Dahl’s skill. Dahl had obviously done her research, and translated it so brilliantly to the page.

Yet Dahl also gave us suspense and a thrilling tense nervousness, the isolated cabin, the falling snow, the dense dark forest at night, blood, a missing gun. A woman alone, emotions all over the place, fear ever present, the reality of the who and the what full of spine tingling uncertainty that I lapped up.

I tried multiple times to understand, even guess the conclusion as Dahl switched between past and present, between Kristina and Elizabeth, the cabin and the manuscript. When Kristina’s husband turned up at the cabin you weren’t sure wether you felt relief or if something else, another surprise lay in store.

The truth when it emerged was shocking, unexpected but perfectly fitting, lives left shattered, yet justice imminent.

If you like an intelligent extremely well written novel that examined the psychology of its characters, that perfect balanced it with all the aspects of a fabulous tense thriller then Cabin Fever was definitely right at the top of the pile.

I would like to thank Head Of Zeus for a copy of Cabin Fever to read and review and to Midas PR for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Alex Dahl

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel, and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Bath and London. She is the author of three other thrillers: PlaydateThe Heart Keeper, and The Boy at the Door, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger.

Follow Alex on Twitter (@alexdahlauthor), Instagram (@authoralex) and Facebook (alexdahlauthor).

#Blogtour All The Fun Of The Fair by Caroline Hulse @CarolineHulse1 @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #AllTheFunOfTheFair

All the Fun of the Fair
Orion Books July 8th 2021

The Blurb

It’s 1996, summer is coming, and eleven-year-old Fiona Larson is determined to make this her best year yet

The Fair is the only good thing that happens every year. And Fiona Larson is the only person in town who’s never been.

She’s pretended to go – but she’s never been allowed. Because, before Fiona was even born, her sister died there.

This year, everything will be different.

Fiona is about to turn twelve – older than her sister was. This summer, Fiona will save some money, make new friends, and finally have some fun at The Fair.

But what she’ll actually do is:
– Find a mysterious bag in a bush
– Spy on everyone
– Lose her only friend
– Make a lot of lists
– Learn the truth about what happened at The Fair…

My Review

You couldn’t help but fall in love with Fiona Larson, a quirky eleven year old who only wanted to go to the local fair but her sister who died there meant her parents flatly refused to let her attend. Why? That was a question Hulse had us guessing throughout and Fiona was determined to find out.

We read as Fiona navigated the halls of secondary school, of never quite fitting in, her naivety at times funny, her best friend Lewis her sometime accomplice. Their discovery of porn magazines and consequent sale at a car boat was genius, funny but with a serious aspect, to get the money to go to the fair.

Hulse made us rail against her parents, Danielle’s bedroom pristine, intact, never to be touched, the reason for her death something never to be spoken off. You understood their need to protect Fiona, but more than anything you felt Fiona deserved the truth. You sensed Fiona’s desperation as she hit constant obstacles but Hulse wasn’t going to let Fiona give in, the need to fit in, to confront retired journalists, her behaviour became more and more quirky as the day of the fair grew closer and closer.

You could almost say Hulse was spinning us around on the waltzers as we and Fiona became more and more confused until suddenly we stopped and the truth slipped out. It wasn’t what we were expecting, and that made it all the more sad and poignant and I’m glad Hulse didn’t take another tack as I felt it would have spoilt the feel of the novel.

All The Fun Of The Fair was a wonderfully light hearted look at grief, of not fitting in, of naivety, of growing up, and of the wonderful Fiona Larson and I loved it.

I would like to thank Orion for a copy of All The Fun Of The Fair to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Caroline Hulse lives in Manchester with her husband and a small controlling dog. Her books have been published in fourteen languages and optioned for television. All The Fun of The Fairis her third novel.

#Blogtour Songbirds by Christy Lefteri @christy_lefteri @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #Compulsivereaders #Songbirds

Manilla Press July 8th 2021

The Blurb

She walks unseen through our world.

Cares for our children, cleans our homes.

Her voice unheard.

She has a story to tell.

Will you listen?

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone. Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.

My Review

I adored Songbirds, it was probably one of the most stunningly beautiful novels I have read in a long time. The characters, the words resonated from the pages, as you immersed yourself in the small village in Cyprus, in the mystery of Nisha, the most caring, beautiful soul who disappeared one Sunday evening.

The ramifications for those left behind was huge, but Lefteri unraveled them slowly, took her time, didn’t go in all guns blazing with blaring sirens, angry shouting. Instead we reveled in the individual voices of Petra and Yiannis as their past and present lives were laid bare, their shortcoming, their regrets.

For Petra, the broken relationship with daughter. Alika, the grief she carried for her dead husband, the guilt for never recognising that Nisha was more than just a maid, sent her into the underground world of the immigrant worker. The cruel employers, the agencies who charged excessive amounts to find them work, the families left behind as the maids worked long hours to send money home in the hope of providing a better future. It wasn’t just the practicalities Lefteri focused upon, but Petra’s emotional state, the gradual reconnection between mother and daughter, of learning to live with grief, to move forward and appreciate the now.

Yiannis, so complicated but what wasn’t was his love for Nisha, their relationship forbidden, under cover for fear of recrimination. You could sense his desperation of what he may have lost, of what he may have done that could have driven her away. Was it his connections with the less salubrious side of village life, of his merciless hunting of songbirds, a delicacy in the local resturants and clubs. It was hard to read Lefteri’s descriptions of their capture, their killing, their bird song slowly fading as they died in the nets. You understood his need for the money, but as he came to realise at what cost, and just how to extricate himself without recourse from those higher up in the chain.

If much of the novel centered around Petra and Yiannis’s search for Nisha, Lefteri never let us forget that Nisha wasn’t just a maid, a commodity, a person who cooked, cleaned, looked after Alika. Petra came to realise that Nisha was also a mother, a brave one who left her daughter at the age of two to earn money for her future, who also grieved a husband, had her own feelings and emotions. It made the search that more poignant and important,

The truth when it came was desperate, heartbreaking, a waste of what could have been yet for Petra and Yiannis a new beginning, a chance. to right the wrongs.

Songbirds was a novel never to be forgotten the narrative beautiful and poignant, with characters that will live long in the memory.

I would like to thank Zaffre for a copy of Songbirds to read and review and to Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens.

Twitter: @christy_lefteri

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#Blogtour Damage by Caitlin Wahrer @CaitlinWahrer @MichaelJBooks @ellamwatkins #Damage #TheDamageisDone

Damage

The Blurb

Sometimes, the true story is the hardest to believe.

TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. And when the police get involved, this family in crisis might be capable of anything . . .

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

My Review

Do we truly know the devastating consequences of crime, the depth of emotion not just to the victim but to the wider family. What about the detectives that investigate and indeed those that look from the outside in, the newspapers and social media?

I don’t think we will ever truly understand but Wahrer did an amazing job of giving us some insight that really did make me question my own perceptions and thoughts.

What made the novel, what made it stand out were the unique voices of her characters, the effect, the actions as they absorbed the enormity of what had happened. Yes it had happened to Nick, rape by another man, but I felt the onus moved to his family, to those who didn’t know how to help, how to feel, the extreme actions they contemplated and took.

Julia appeared to take the lead, the lynchpin that seemed to try to hold it altogether. She was the steadying influence to husband Tony’s intense need to protect, to heal Nick, the lawyer who knew what the law could and could not do. Her relationship with Detective Rice the key as she met him a few years later and the truth slowly wormed it’s way out.

Tony, brother, intensely protective of Nick, the shield that protected him from alcoholic parents, that wrapped him in cotton wool determined to save him from the dangers of the world. Wahrer sent him into overdrive, his intense need to ‘fix’ the situation meant she pushed his thoughts and behaviour to the extreme.

What of the victim in all of this, Nick? Wahrer showed a man full of shame, of embarrassment that he couldn’t fight back. There was fear of what others would say, was he ‘asking for it’, was going back to a motel with another man clear intention that he wanted it or indeed got what he deserved? As he fought with his emotions, with the trauma, another truth emerged, yet we only felt empathy, sadness.

Detective Rice, wasn’t the pushy detective we are so used to reading, Wahrer gave him a gentle almost fatherly manner. Yes he wanted to bring justice, but he was our eyes that looked from the outside in. What did he see? A family that was slowly disintegrating, but also Julia, a woman who had inner strength, a capacity to go where she never thought she could, yet her actions had clear intentions. Wahrer showed a man at odds with his oath to the law, his catholic faith, his need to understand, before cancer took him prematurely.

Wahrer threw all those thoughts, questions together, made us really work hard to understand and make sense of what was happening, what direction we would be taken in and indeed how it would all end.

Was it the ending I wanted or indeed expected? For me it was a mixture of both, but at the end I understood why and admired the way in which Wahrer had managed to raise so many questions both moral and ethical whilst at the same time maintaining all the essential elements of a mighty fine novel.

I would like to thank Michael J Books for a copy of Damage to read and review and to Ella Watkins for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Caitlin Wahrer is a Maine girl through and through. She was born to two hippies who raised her in Canaan, a small town in central-southern Maine without a single stoplight in it. Caitlin left the state for four years to study criminal justice and marriage and family studies at a college in Pennsylvania. She returned to Maine after graduation to attend law school. She practices civil litigation in Portland. She and her husband, also a lawyer, live in South Portland with their dog.

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